The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

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It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.

Title: The Scorpio Races
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Why you should read this book: Because it is magical and it has a soul of its own.

Summary from Goodreads:

It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line.

Some riders live.
Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.

Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a choice. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

“Does anyone ask you why you stay, Sean Kendrick?”
“They do.”
“And why do you?”
“The sky and the sand and the sea and Corr.”

Loving this book wasn’t really a surprise because I saw the impact it had on people and I knew I was ready for it to swallow me in its magic. It did and it did it perfectly and deeply. That ending was so perfect; I will keep it in my heart.

In my opinion horses are already magical creatures. They are majestic, elegant and beautiful. Any more qualities given to a horse would only upgrade it. That’s the Capaill Uisce to you. I still don’t know how to pronounce it. The singular is Capall, the plural is Capaill, said as Copple. Well, I will keep pronouncing it as it’s written but only in my head.

I trust Corr more than any of them.
I should not trust him at all.

The Capaill Uisce are water horses; enormous horses born in the sea. They eat blood and meat and are savage, they belong to the sea and it’s extremely hard to capture them and gain their trust. My new book crush, Sean Kendrick, is one of the luckiest boys on that tiny island. He understands horses and water horses and loves everything about them. He has a special connection with a red water horse called Corr. They are one, they belong to one another. Their bond is precious and it’s shown perfectly throughout the book. You read one line from Sean and you see the feelings of love for Corr. He may be quiet on the outside but inside he is bursting with feelings.

Corr can hold a thousand things in his heart and reveal only one of them on his face, like he did earlier today. He is so very like me.

Sean is also the winner of 4 Scorpio Races. These races are held on the first day of November and they are bloody, dangerous, people die, horses die, and tourists come from the mainland to see the slaughter. Is it worth it? Is one race worth all that suffering? It sure is fascinating to see those huge capaill uisce race because they are really fast, but at what cost? It’s tradition; maybe one day they will stop doing it, maybe they will do it forever.

“Tell me what it’s like. The race.”
“What it’s like is a battle. A mess of horses and men and blood. The fastest and strongest of what is left from two weeks of preparation on the sand. It’s the surf in your face, the deadly magic of November on your skin, the Scorpio drums in the place of your heartbeat. It’s speed, if you’re lucky. It’s life and it’s death or it’s both, and there’s nothing like it.”

Kate Connolly, aka Puck, is competing in the races for the first time. She is the first woman competing and, of course, the men are whining about it. It’s a man thing; it’s dangerous, go back and be a housewife, girl. How dare they? It’s so infuriating. I love how Kate is brave and he won’t be talk out of the race. She will enter it with her pony, sorry horse, Dove, and she is entering to win. She needs the money, even more now that her big brother is moving away to the mainland, leaving her and her other brother Finn by themselves with debts to be paid.

I’m quite happy for that smile, because Dad told me once you should be grateful for the gifts that are the rarest.

The island is another important character in the book. It seems that it gives you and it takes from you, the island changes you and makes you do things for it or for yourself. Thisby is not a big island, but it is an island that has a few things to offer. Not only the water horses that during storms come out from the sea to kill you. That’s interesting enough, but it also has beautiful beaches, cliffs, little towns and it has Sean. I can’t keep myself from loving him and his black and blue jacket, his rare smiles, his conversations without words.

This island is a cunning and secretive thing. I can’t say what it has planned for me.

This island cares nothing for love but it favors the brave.

Puck and Sean are destined to meet since they are both running in the races. Sean is fascinated by Puck and decides to help her with her training; at first because he wants to understand why she is competing, but then this curiosity transforms itself into something else. Something unsettling. Something a little too close to love. How I love them together, their interactions, how they start as merely acquaintances to be so much for each other that everything else just becomes background noise.

“I say, ‘I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.’
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, ‘It’s late for that, Puck.”

The magic in this book resides in its pace. It is slow, it has to make you part of the island, of the story. It takes you by hand to visit every corner of the island, meet its inhabitants; it makes you understand the way they think. It shows you good days and bad days. It shows you how nice people can be and it shows you how bad jealousy makes people act. It takes you to the capaill uisce, makes you a little bit scared of them, and makes your fear go away by showing how wonderful these creatures truly are. There is so much more and it leaves you wondering how many things can happen, how many possibilities there are for you to be happy. The book makes you understand so much about the life on the island so that you can also understand why so many people decide to leave it, how much they want to run away from it.

I’m so full of an unnamed wanting that I can’t bear it.

Everything is shown slowly so that you have time to immerse yourself in the story and not be thrown into it when you’re not ready. Things will happen when they’re supposed to happen and you are going to be filled with so many feelings it will feel be like you are riding a capaill uisce on the beach, hearing its heart beating against your legs, your hair in the wind.

Do I recommend it? Yes, it has so much to offer and it makes you happy.
Rate: 5/5

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